Maligned Midnight Cult Classic
There was a time up until the late 90’s where late night television cult oddities were shown to fill out the schedules. To most people this was just fodder but for some people this was THE place where b-movie fanatics discovered cult classics like Race with the Devil, or The Keep and the now forgotten classic Night of the Eagle with Peter Wyngarde. Appearing in the graveyard slots, these films were in their element for those who stayed up in the ungodly hour and are 200 percent better and scarier than anything released in recent memory.
In America there has been more of a foundation for cult movies like the Golden Turkey Awards and Joe Bob Briggs getting airtime. In the UK some took a masterly appreciation of the art form such as Alex Cox’s Moviedrome which started its movie night in 1988 on a Sunday evening with a great incisive intro. Previously tossed to the side classics were brought centre stage such as The Parallax View and various Robert Aldrich films with full appreciation but nowadays these films are rarely shown in these slots that are now filled with reality TV and cheap TV repeats.
The younger generation that want to discover “different” movies are usually unaware of these classics, as there seems to be hardly any platform to show them on. Even Sky Indie or Sky Classics stick to the safe populist fare. I am not saying that the newer generation are dumb or blind by any means but on asking whether anyone has seen Le diabolique (the original) the answer is usually no. If you know what you are looking for then it will be easy to find on the numerous download sites but in the case of stumbling on something late at night that sounds interesting (as I and my friends have) the opportunities are limited vastly. Some films slip through the net but unless you are looking at the schedules week in week out then it’s difficult.
Those that want to be filmmakers should check these films out. Even Film Four, which was a champion of the obscure when it started, seem to be just showing mainstream films and have no supporting documentaries anymore (you may as well call it Sky Movies 3). Mark Kermode seems the last line of defence and can carry on beating the drum of classic cinema but when will they bring back late night cult movies and the documentaries that go with it? Documentaries that are more than Electronic Press Kits and actually give you a history on the subject. At zeroheadroom.com I aim to bring back the weird for public consumption and introduce cult films to a newer generation.